Gun crime in the state’s capitol city has spiked this year -- punctuated by a record number of murders that has city officials facing angry residents and begging for help from the governor.
Thirty-three people had been killed in Trenton before the end of August, two more than the previous high of 31, which occurred in 2005. Local statistics on file with the state police show that 31.8 percent more crimes were committed with a gun through July this year in Trenton than through the same time period last year. Newark is facing a similar surge in violence, with a dozen murders so far in September, bringing the total for the year to 64.
The increase in murders in Trenton comes a little more than a year after the city laid off 105 officers, about one-third of its police force, to help balance its budget in the wake of cuts in state aid and the imposition of a 2 percent budget cap on all towns in the state. The Newark force was reduced by more than 200 during the same time period.